Ireland start an international women’s team

After the success of England in women’s rugby league and the creation of Scottish and Welsh international squads, Ireland have now followed suit and Ireland rugby have appointed John Whalley, Wigan Ladies assistant coach, as the first ever Ireland Women’s Head Coach.

A former Ireland international himself, Whalley was really excited by his appointment: “After a number of weeks talking to the newly appointed chairman about the prospects of a full Ireland Women’s international team and a very intense interview process I was fortunate enough to be appointed as the first Ireland Women’s Head Coach.”

He even discussed his plans for the team moving forward: “I have a 5 year plan in place to form a full International team, a junior talent pathway to put us in a very good position working towards the 2025 World Cup.”

Moreover, he even disclosed news about the creation of an Irish competition with a view of Irish sides joining the Challenge Cup in 2022: “The Ireland Championship will start later this year it’s in its very infancy with 5 teams ready to compete which is fantastic and very exciting times something I will be keep a very close eye on.”

The former Wigan Ladies Under-19s coach unsurprisingly stressed the importance of pathways for young players: “Having worked for 2 years on the England Talent Pathway (ETP) u14’s & u16’s it has given me a great insight into the development process and I have put in my 5 year plan to introduce the ITP Ireland Talent Pathway, I think it’s really important that young players have that pathway in place. This will certainly help with their development and they can see the path through to becoming a full International.”

He is now looking forward to knuckling down in his new role: “The World Cup 2025 with be here before we know it. I am very excited with what these next four years have instore for us here at RLI.”

Any players of Irish heritage can email John at for further information.

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